Saturday, February 27, 2010


Paris Feb 19-21st

Paris was amazing.. haha I left Granada at 7 pm on Thursday night (the 18th) on a bus heading towards Madrid. I ‘slept’ in the good ‘ol Airport Hostal (on the floor) again haha and had an 8 am flight the next morning.. I was traveling by myself so it wasn’t quite as easy as with a group of people but it worked out just fine! It seemed like forever for that 8 am flight, but when it finally came, I met 6 other people who were going to Paris and also studying in Granada. It was good to be able to talk to them on the plane and everything! We got to airport Paris- Beauvois, and I had strict instructions from Taylor that the metro was only a nine minute walk away… haha SO I started walking and noticed nobody else was walking and the further I got away from the airport… the more countryside I saw… haha after like 5 minutes I turned around because I figured something wasn’t right… as it turns out the airport I landed in was over an our away from Paris and I had to catch a bus to get to Paris.. (didn’t even see that one comin’!). The bus came right away though, so it was no big deal at all! I knew I had arrived in Paris when I looked out the window and saw the big Eiffel Tower!

After arriving at the metro in Paris, I didn’t really have a problem finding the hotel. I got to the “hotel” and it was more like a hostel haha but I didn’t really care because it was pretty close to the Eiffel Tower. Taylor came and found me, and I gave her a biggggg hug haha (from everyone of course). Right away we walked around the city!... it was really difficult to get used to the metro because there were soo many trains in it, but it was fun! We first saw the arch haha I don’t remember the name and from there she showed me where her dorms were and everything… We walked sooo much, and there was so much to see! It was about 5 now, so we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go out for supper and everything.

We got all dressed up that night for Taylor’s birthday and went to the top of the Eiffel tower around 7 pm… It was sooo cool! The Eiffel tower was absolutely ridiculous lit up! It was so big and I think everybody needs to see it once in there life! The town lit up looking out was so cool too… Paris is ridiculously big! We were up there for almost 2 hours I think… It was so much fun! After checkin’ out the view from the top we headed to the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. It was so nice! We got a glass of champagne along with a bottle of wine. Also, we got an appetizer, main dish, and dessert. We ordered something different from each other for each so we could try all different stuff! Haha (American tourists) For appetizers I got duck and Taylor ordered salmon (which was raw) haha but it was all good. For our main dishes I got “home-grown chicken breast” (whatever that means haha) and Taylor ordered scallops.. both were really good but they came with soap bubbles on top of them… which we though was kind of weird haha but whatever. And then for dessert Taylor ordered a chocolate nut dessert of some sort and I ordered a some sort of rum based dessert and they were both really good also!... The restaurant was soo nice soo all the food was really good. We had seats right next to the windows looking over the city, and it was awesome looking over the city while we ate! Our meal took us over 2 hours haha and it was so much fun!

The next day went by soo fast. We went to Notre Dame (that was pretty sweet), Luxemburg Garden, and Pompiduo. All three very cool places, and after those three, we were beat! (Notre Dame is the Cathedral, Luxemburg is France’s govt. and Pompiduo is a modern art museum). Also, this is the day that I had my first Crepe! Haha It was pretty goood! That night I met Taylor’s friends from France, and they had planned to go to dinner and then out to the bars. It was really funny because Taylor’s favorite food is “soup” (yeah she’s weird I know haha just kidding), and her friends found a place that only makes soup so we went there to eat! After dinner we bought some drinks and brought it back to the “dorms” to drink in the lobby. We started playin’ a little “wine pong” with bottle caps instead of ping pong balls. This wasn’t working out for the best, so we switched to flippy cup. The French guys were watchin us and eventually joined. It was like 10 on 10 and eventually turned into Americans versus French haha It was all fun and games until we got a little too rowdy and the security guard started yelling at everyone in French. I would say luckily we had France natives with us BUT instead of defending everyone they blamed the Americans for the noise and all of the alcohol (haha “I don’t know Harry the French are assholes” ) . We got over it real quickly and headed out to a bar. The bar was pretty sweet and we called it a night after that.

The next day I had a 8 o clock flight that was over an hour away from Paris. Needless to say I was up really early haha I left Paris for the airport around 5 am for a longg trip home!. Paris was definitely a site to see, and it was awesome to see Taylor for her birthday! It was a great weekend!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Switzlerand February 2-6th

Where do I begin with Switzerland? I am going to say aside from arriving in Spain, the Switzerland trip has definitely been the highlight of my trip so far. The group consisted of me, Ben, Robert, Brett, Maggie, Caitlin Tori and Paige. The trip started 4 hours after we returned from Morocco haha we didn’t leave much time between the trips so we’re glad nothing was delayed on the good ‘ol Moroccan trip! We returned from Morocco around 6 I think and then left around 10 for the bus station where we would take a 5 hour bus ride (1:30 am- 6:30 am) to Madrid. Since we were all super tired the plan was to just “sleep on the bus”. Little did we know is that we were about to get on the bus companies oldest bus (or so it seemed) because it had NO leg-room! I am pretty sure I slept a total of 20 minutes on the 5 hour bus ride haha it kinda sucked. We made it to the bus station in Madrid around 6:30 or 7 and had to take the metro to the airport which took another 20 minutes about. Needless to say when we got to the airport we really had no idea where we were going… not to mention none of us had really slept soo we were all pretty confused and tired haha BUT we found where we needed to be!... I think our plane left around 10 or 11, so we had some time to waste. At first we were all sitting talking and that turned into camping out on the floor of the airport and sleeping haha It was kinda weird at first but when we woke up we weren’t the only ones on the floor… so we pretty much started a good trend haha.. Finally, we boarded our plane for Milan, Italy.

When we got to Italy we didn’t realize the train station was in a town about 45 minutes away, so we had to get a bus to the train station. When we got to the train station, we didn’t realize the train would be more expensive than the plane either haha we were all kind of freakin’ out about the price of the train, but we had to do it!... We had to wait around a while for the train in the train station and it was already dark the next day… we had been traveling for about 15 hours at this point and were allll ready to get to Switzerland already. The train took us to Spiez, Switzerland. This turned out to be the joke of the trip haha Maggie asked for a trip to “Spitz” Switzerland and we definitely didn’t let her forget that the rest of the trip! If something went wrong the rest of the trip or we just felt the need we would all say “AH SPITZ” hence the name of my photo album for this trip! Haha After a two and a half hour train ride to Spiez (sp?), we had to get on another half hour train ride to Interlaken! We all desperately wanted to be there already considering we had been now traveling for about 22 hours nonstop. When we arrived it was obviously dark because it was like 11 at night, so it took us a while to find our Hostel. The town was only a town of 6,000 people, so it was a nice change of pace considering we’re used to being in cities about the size of Des Moines.

We got to the hostel and it seemed like a good hostel.. not that I would have really known at the time haha but it ended up being perfect for us! They had a welcome shot ready for us haha (sorry mom and dad). After getting unpacked and everything we were all dead tired but hungry, so we walked around the town looking for a place to eat at 11 at night. Low and behold the only place open was a McDonalds which we hadn’t eaten since we left America. Lets just say.. aside from our meals being about 20 bucks each at a fricken McDonalds…. It was glorious! That night we just pretty much went to sleep.. for some reason after 22 hours of straight traveling we were all tired… haha

The next day we were just planning on hanging out around town and checking it out and everything, but when we woke up (around 10) the day was so nice. There was no way I was about to pass up a day of skiing when the weather was as perfect as it was. Around 11 the guys decided to go skiing that day, and the girls wanted to just shop around the town and everyone was happy haha. The guys took a train to Grindelwald, Switz. Where the skiing was. We had to walk through town to get to the train in Interlaken… we walked along a river and the water was the craziest turquoise color! It was soo clear. Interlaken means between lakes.. there are two lakes surrounding the town… the town itself was so perfect. Everything in the town was so clean, the people were really nice, the weather was perfect, the town was surrounded by mountains on all sides, and the lakes on each side had the bluest water I have ever seen! ( I want to live there haha) After the half hour train ride we got to the rental shop and got all suited up! The lift was a short bus ride away and we were skiing. All I have to say about the skiing is.. Amazing. The best skiing I have ever had probably…. It took Ben and I around 45 minutes to get down the first mountain, which was pretty sweet. I don’t really know what else to say about it. I hope that the pictures speak for themselves because the skiing was awesome. The slopes closed at 430, and we headed back to Interlaken.

We arrived back at Interlaken, and the girls made us spaghetti! It was so awesome! We all ate and drank some wine and whatnot in the kitchen. After dinner we all decided to walk around the town and see what we could find. We ended up at some bar that happened to have live music, so it was pretty fun. Robert made some friends, and after the bar we went to McDonalds again haha and that is where Robert was kidnapped. As he was leaving he told us, “Don’t worry guys… I’m becoming a man” haha We ended up looking and finding him later.. He was drinking with the Swiss army naturally haha This is also where Caitlin insisted on thanking them over and over for there services they do for “our” country. (Im not sure if she realizes she is from the United States and not Switzerland) haha It was pretty funny actually. We ended up callin’ it a night after that, but we left Robert with the Swiss army haha.

The next morning we woke up at like 630 am to head out and go skiing with everyone this time! We skied on a different mountain to switch things up! It was a lot of fun skiing with all of us… It snowed almost the entire time we skied which was pretty cool, and the weather really wasn’t that cold either! On our last run skiing (which took us about an hour and a half to get down because we messed around the entire way) there was a little uphill slope, and since Caitlin was on a snowboard she couldn’t get up.. sooo she grabbed my ski pole as I went by so that she could gain some momentum. It was all working pretty well except I wasn’t really looking and to my left was a River ravine. I managed to find that river ravine pretty quickly and I fell off the path into it hahaha… I just laid in it for a while laughing because there was really deep snow over the river so it wasn’t too big of a deal but it was funny! Finally, we made it back to Grindelwald where we returned all of our stuff and headed back to Interlaken.

We had round two for spaghetti that night and then made our way to another hostel where there was a bar and dance floor and everything. Reid actually came to the same town as us with some other Central people, so it was really fun hanging out with all of them! The next day it was time for us to leave, but the time spent in Switzerland was so much fun! I would recommend to anyone going there for a vacation or anything at all because it was great! Our travels back were very similar to our travels there (sleeping in the airport and all the same trains back). It was really good to get back into Granada where we felt like we were home. We took a weekend off from traveling and now next weekend (Feb 19) I’m heading to Paris to see my girlfriend Taylor for her birthday! I’m soo excited to see her!.. It has been over a month:s Next week I will have another blog up about Paris!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Morocco, Africa

Feburary 3, 2010


Welll I was going to wait until I got home from Switzerland to write a blog BUT there is so much to say about Morocco. We left Granada, Spain on January 29th on a bus for a 3 hour ride for Algeciras (the port city). Here we stayed in our first hostel ever haha it wasn’t too bad I suppose. It was a regular room and bathroom and everything with a tv. We met our three group leaders for the Morocco trip (Alan, Sarah and Anna) and went to sleep for the night. The next morning we woke up at 8 to get on a huge ferry to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. It was about an hour and a half ride. It was pretty cool that we were heading to Africa. I never thought I would have the chance and it was fun sharing that with the people I was with! We got to Morocco, and the people were nice to start off the bat. A girl in our group dropped her passport in the parking lot and immediately the Moroccan’s were telling us to wait and handed it back to her. It was VERY overwhelming when we got there. Everyone there spoke either Arabic or French, so we had no idea what was going on… pretty much ever. The town that we started in was Tangier, which is the port city in Morocco. When we got there we exchanged money and everything and then drove straight to the good ‘ol meat market. I didn’t like it at all…. I did take some pictures and put one on face book. People were carrying around half of cows and the smell was terrible.. I thought I was going to be for a very long trip when I saw all of this. We talked to two Morrocan women after the meet market and had tea and whatnot with them. They explained to us a lot about the Muslim religion. I learned so much about it , but it’s tough to explain through typing. I did learn though that the woman can choose to cover there faces with the scarves and everything… Nobody makes them do that and also Muslims really aren’t that different from Christians. After the talk we went to a women’s center where woman who didn’t have a lot of money could go and make different types of clothing to sell. A couple of us bought some of it so that was goood. We then went and had lunch… which was soo much different than America. Morrocans eat with there hands and only grab food with there right hand. It was like any other meal pretty much except we were able to use silverware. There is a picture of the food on facebook. It was basicly chicken with vegetables around in a broth. (haha NOT chicken noodle soup though) After Tangier we drove along the Alantic ocean shore to a town called Rabat, but not before stopping halfway on a beach. On that beach there were two camels waiting for us! Haha it was pretty sweet riding a camel, and it was even cooler that we were on some random beach. Before getting to Africa, I was expecting to be walking in the desert everywhere haha but as it turns out some of it is just like any town in Spain. (At least in the bigger towns it was like this)

Once we arrived in Rabat, we met our host families. Brett Mckenzie and I roomed together and the house we all met at ended up being the house that Brett and I were put into. I am pretty sure this house was one of the nicer houses among all of the others. The house actually had a tv and internet and a normal toilet. The shower was pretty disgusting though so we both chose not to shower haha. The first night with our host family we had bread with some sort of meatball. (Bread is huge in Europe, I think I have had more bread here then ever in my life). The meal was pretty good.. it was definitely weird only eating with our right hands and no silverware again. One person in each house spoke English and the person that spoke it for us was actually our host brother who is 24. After dinner him and one of his friends took us to walk around the Medina (old part of the city where the streets are full of people selling things) It was a Saturday night so there were 1000’s of people out and Jesim our host brother knew almost all of them it seemed like. After the tour we called it a day and went to bed. There wasn’t heat or AC in the houses so at night it got pretty cold. Morocco wasn’t as warm during January as people might think.

The next day we woke up early again around 8, and our family made us just some coffee and bread with butter and jelly. (Since I have been in Spain I have aquired the taste for coffee and red wine haha two things I would never drink in the States). That day we went to some Roman ruins and whatnot that were pretty interesting, and then that afternoon we spoke with two Muslim guys. This was SO interesting. We talked a lot about terrorism and the stereotypes of the Muslim religion. I don’t want to write about all that we talked about, but there were two keys points that I remember really well. 1) We were talking about the terrorist attacks on America, and how the “Muslims” did this. They were very upset that the media puts a bad image in the Muslim community because of these terrorist attacks. One of the guys said, “The acts of terrorism on the United States were not Muslim men, they were crazy men using the Muslim religion as a coverup because a real Muslim man would never perform such acts on other people.” 2) We were talking about the differences and similarities among religions in general and one of the guys said, “Each religion is just a different finger but on the same hand” Implying we all believe in the same thing, but we just go about our beliefs in different ways. After saying the talk we actually met up with people from Casablanca and they took us through the market to help us shop. It was pretty awesome getting DVD’s for less than a dollar haha and I bought some snowpants for pretty cheap for also. The guys were really helpful!

That night after walking around and dinner with the family, we had a Hamam planned… (public shower). My host brother took about eight of us guys and the girls went to their own. The hamam could have been the funniest part of the trip! Haha basically its three rooms that are all steamed up and everyone brings two buckets in to fill up with scolding hot water for a shower. SOO we get to the hamam and there is an option to have a guy scrub you haha two guys decided they wanted to do that.. as the saying goes… “when in Morocco… do as the Moroccan’s do”… We walk into the hamam (everyone has to have boxers on) but people were laying all over the floors and there were guys being scrubbed down left and right… lets just say the people who were being scrubbed were being absolutely dominated by the scrubbers… sooo naturally all 8 of us Americans were laughing hysterically right off the bat. The guys who paid for the scrub were pretty scared at this point because they were about to be man handled by a naked man. Haha Also, there were guys laying all over the floors everywhere… im guessing there were around 50-60 people in this public shower… absolutely disgusting might I add. How it works is there is 3 rooms a hot, medium, and warm room. Each person sits in the hot sauna-like room first to get a sweat going… and by sit in the sauna I mean lay on dirty cement floor where numerous DIRTY Moroccans had sat before.. after enjoying the filthiness of the floor we filled our buckets and used soap made from straight up animal fat and “showered” I guess. The guys who chose the ‘ol man scrub were not so lucky… at one point right before they big wash we all looked over and saw one guy using his beard to scrub another guys back hahaha SO funny! It was now Andrew’s and Robert’s turn to get scrubbed up… they started by laying on the floor and the Moroccan immediately stood on Andrew and scrubbed away… at this point we were all on the floor laughing because it could’ve been the funniest site I have ever seen… about 5 minutes later he was done but not before the Moroccan stretched him out…. He was standing on him and straight up just crankin’ on his legs and arms it was so funny!.. Both Andrew and Robert were screaming at the guy to stop cuz it hurt so bad hahaha partially naked guys stretchin’ each other…. It was NOT right! haha But definitely the highlight of that day!

The next day we traveled to the part of Morocco that I expected all of Morocco to be like… Shanty houses and in the country with no cars or roads. We ate with a family and had a translator to speak to them since they only spoke Arabic. Talking to them was pretty interesting, but I found that a lot of the conversations were the same as the other two, but it was good to hear other’s inputs. After the visit we continued on to the town of Chefchauon. The town was in the middle of the mountains, so it was pretty cool. We stayed in a hostel in the middle of town and got to shop and stuff and go out to eat. Every ten feet some random guy would come up to us and try to sell us hash…. It was really annoying, but we laughed every time. Right when we got into the town some kid who only spoke Arabic looked at us and said, “Hey you,,,, F*** you” hahaha I looked at him and just bursted out laughing because he was about 10 yrs old… Let me tell ya it made us feel welcome haha. We spent one night in the town and then got up in the morning at 6 to go to a mosque in the mountains. It was pretty cool looking over the entire town and everything.. Later that day we made our way back to a different port town where we were shipped back to Spain!. Overall it was a great trip and everything was already paid for so it was really nice! Once we got back to spain we only had 4 hours until our bus left for Madrid and that is where our Switzerland trip began!